Welcome to Thoughts from the Road. Here’s Katia Alvim on finding comfort zones and ‘traps’ on the road…
I’m Katia, a Brazilian-Italian motorcycle traveller incapable of settling down. I retired from the military after 32 years of service in the Brazilian Air Force, sold my possessions and my motorcycle became my home. Detaching from life’s comforts wasn’t easy, but it was liberating. I’ve been travelling for three years across the Americas with one year and six months of ‘forced’ internment in Canada due the pandemic. And it’s now been a year and six months since I left Canada and am currently in Uruguay, coming back from Ushuaia, Argentina – again!
Check out Katia’s awesome adventures on her Facebook page: Nomad Katia
Comfort Zones and Traps
What is the definition for long-term travel? For some, it’s a few months and for others it’s years. But, no matter the length, at some point in your journey you’ll find a spot that will hold you like a spell. It could be a campground, hotel, a friend’s house… but it will keep you and you’ll start postponing when to leave…
It’s a comfort zone, like your body and spirit feel familiarity in that place and you can put your awareness to rest for a while. You don’t even look for this place, you just bump into it. But it’s necessary to recharge your batteries.
It happens to everyone (often more than once), but it’s more frequent with solo motorcycle travellers. I guess when you travel with a partner, the simple fact that you’re sharing the trip, both experiencing the same chain of events and can talk about it will bring a sense of this ‘comfort zone’ to the adventure itself.
But, as mentioned, it will happen to any long-term traveller (solo or not) and will act as a kind of trap because it will prevent you from continuing on your journey – at least for a while.
What’s important here is that this is a good thing! Well, as long as you don’t use this ‘trap’ as an excuse to keep on postponing your leaving forever!
We all know some of these famous traps dotted around the world such as overlander campgrounds and guesthouses etc. I won’t mention them, instead I’ll tell you about a few personal experiences I’ve been through as a solo traveller.
There was a humble family in Mexico. They provided me shelter and food in a home that didn’t even have a water system. They had to bring water in to the house in small containers. I didn’t shower for five days because I didn’t want to use their scarce supply. Yet, there was such a sense of family and love that it was difficult to leave.
I arrived in Colombia in the rainy season. There were many landslides along unfamiliar roads and I felt the need to establish a base where I could get a couple of hours of riding in a day before the rain fell. I got a fantastic deal in a cosy hotel in the mountains of Antioquia, owned by a couple that became my Colombian family.
Well, my stay turned out to last two months, helped by getting to know a few new friends too. This trap has been my longest one to date!
I recently met an Argentinian rider in a hotel. We rode together for a week and got trapped in a hotel in Vinchina, northwest Argentina. The plan was to stay three days, which quickly turned into a week. The comfort and warm welcome from the owner prevented us from leaving any earlier. There was just too much familiarity there.
It’s funny, we venture out into the world on our motorcycles to shake ourselves free of our comfort zones. But every now and then, we are reminded by our inner-self, even subconsciously) that we need to find one.
Those are the good traps every traveller is faced with. And what’s important is that you learn to just embrace them. There’s nothing wrong with taking time off the bike and living life in ‘comfort’. Just get back on the road when you’re ready, recharged and ready to take on whatever the road throws your way.
What do you think about comfort zones? Do you like taking time off the bike on your travels? Let us know in the comments below.